The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2014
Trends include an overwhelming desire globally to indulge in luxury goods, download more apps and document experiences visually through social media. However, consumers are also struggling with work-life balance, maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle and eating better. These trends are sure to change the way brands appear and interact with consumers and in turn, brands will need to work harder to maintain customer loyalty.
1. A Narrowing Gap Between Interest and Purchase
As consumers are looking for instant gratification with various products, brands are looking for ways to harness customer impulse buying. Most recently, MasterCard announced a partnership with publisher Conde Nast in an app called ShopThis, allowing digital consumers to instantly buy items they see in a magazine ad or an item of clothing worn by an actor in a film.
2. Eating Right
Interest in eating right goes beyond the obesity statistics – many are aware that healthy eating can improve quality of life and extend longevity. Also, many are discovering food sensitivities and are looking to purchase “free-from” products. According to Euromonitor International’s 2013 Global Consumer Trends Survey, online consumers are willing to pay more for food items with specific benefits, such as added nutrients.
3. Eco-Worriers and the Blooming of Social Conscience
Consumers are increasingly looking to connect with brands, business models and products that do not associate with negative environmental or social impacts. A new lifestyle platform called SHFT is aiming to convey a new, more sustainable approach to the way we live. Created by actor Adrian Grenier and producer Peter Glatzer, SHFT believes “Sustainability should be folded into the fabric of our lives… and nudge us further towards the sustainable direction in which we’re inevitably headed.”
4. Home Base: The Importance of Home and Community
A homebody is not just a person anymore but also a state of mind as consumers are centering more of their entertainment in the home. According to Argentina’s newspaper, La Nacion, “You can get a professional chef to cook for you, host a band for an exclusive show in your living room or attend a play in your garden.” Consumers are also members of multi-generational households, due to rising costs of childcare, housing and eldercare. Multi-generational living is important in terms of purchasing, as a mix of generations will influence buying behaviors for food, holidays and technology choices.
5. Frustrations with the Lack of a Work/Life Balance
An unfulfilled work/life balance will be a widespread source of consumer stress in 2014. Many believe that mobile connectivity is blurring the work/leisure divide, creating more stress while others believe it may relieve pressure on working consumers. According to Euromonitor International’s 2013 Global Consumer Trends Survey, two-thirds of consumers say they are actively trying to simplify their current lives. While the majority of consumers make financial security concerns a priority, others are questioning personal and career satisfaction and goals, and opting for simpler living.
6. Luxury for More Consumers
In 2014, consumers are still looking to purchase luxury goods. However, more consumers want to get their hands on luxury items for less. Japanese consumers are option for more “affordable luxury” in greater numbers. For example, popular purchases include cashmere sweaters at fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo and gourmet coffee at 7-Eleven convenience stores.
7. People’s Choice
Digital technology has given people the power to react to what displeases them in minutes and enables them to become brand ambassadors, spreading the word about good buys when satisfied. Consumers can influence others purchasing habits thanks to social networks, so brands need to work harder than ever to earn consumer loyalty in 2014. Transparency and sincere apologies earn consumer respect.
8. Post-Recession Coping Strategies the New Normal
While many cash-stretched consumers are still suffering from the remains of the recession, post-recession coping strategies are about how people behave after processing the shock of living in recession. Many consumers have modified their buying behaviors and started doing things such as thrift-store shopping, relying on credit and considering collaborative consumption. Two-thirds of respondents in Euromonitor International’s 2013 Global Consumer Trends Survey agree that finding bargains while shopping is something they enjoy.
9. There’s an App for That…
With global consumers relying more than ever on mobile technology, it is nosurprise apps will continue to grow in popularity in 2014. Apps are indicators of consumer interests and offer marketing opportunities for brands. New apps in the UK for ‘smarthomes’ enable users to remote control their home, such as the Hive Active Heating app from British Gas. A UK budget hotel chain, Premier Inn, recently revealed a new app allowing guests to control lighting and entertainment through their mobile phone.
10. Visual Craving
Consumers are becoming a visual audience. Those who are digitally savvy can take their pick from popular software apps such as Vine and Instagram to showcase their life pictorially. However, it is making it hard for consumers to grasp reality amongst “perfection” found in filters and editing. A blog, Filter Fakers, scours Instagram for those pretending their photos have #NoFilter. Once found, they out them for the Internet to mock. Meanwhile, another blog called Pinstrosity asks readers to submit pictures of their DIY and cooking projects gone wrong.